Saturday, February 16, 2013
Mets won't rush d'Arnaud
By Jason Catania
The New York Mets acquired top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey this offseason, and accompanying d'Arnaud to Queens is the expectation that he's the club's catcher of the future -- and maybe the present.
GM Sandy Alderson didn't rule out the possibility that the soon-to-be 24-year-old wins a spot on the 25-man Opening Day roster. But veteran John Buck, who came over with d'Arnaud in the same deal, is expected to be the Opening Day backstop, according to Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. The Mets, then, don't have to rush their new toy, especially after he missed the second half of 2012 with a torn knee.
Between Buck, d'Arnaud and minor league journeyman Anthony Recker, the Mets are almost guaranteed to get more production from the catcher positiong in 2013. Last year, the club's catchers -- primarily Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, both of whom were shipped to Toronto in the trade -- combined to post an MLB-worst .567 OPS. Buck, a righty hitter with good power, owns a career OPS of .706, respectable for a catcher.
The consensus within the scouting world seems to be that d'Arnaud could benefit from more time in Triple-A -- anywhere from a few months to most of the 2013 season. "There was an approach concern, for me," one NL scout said of watching d'Arnaud early in 2012. "The power is there, he covers the plate and defensively it's just a matter of some more experience."
The former Phillies and Blue Jays prospect batted .333 with 16 home runs, 59 strikeouts and 19 walks in 67 games for Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League last year. By most accounts, d'Arnaud has All-Star ability and is very close to being ready for the majors. Whether he's Opening Day-close or All-Star break-close, though, we'll soon find out.
Keith Lawd'Arnaud: No. 14 on Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects
"Everything about his game is ready for the majors or close to it, but he has to show he can handle a full season without hitting the DL: A player who plays like an All-Star for just 80 games a year but spends the rest in the trainer's room has value but will always be perceived as a disappointment.